Every online casino or gambling site tells you that their games are safe, fair, and random. But they don’t ask you to take their word for it: each site you visit always references independent labs or companies that have tested their games and systems, conducting audits in order to verify that no shady business is going on behind the scenes.
Obviously, this independent verification is critical for players to have trust in the sites they play on, particularly when real money is on the line. But how much do you know about these groups that are doing these tests? There are many highly-regarded labs that are in the testing business, and even if you’ve heard their names, chances are you know little about their work. Here’s a look at some of the largest organizations that test and analyze games in the online gambling industry.
Thought the full name of the organization is eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance, this group is known throughout the gambling world as eCOGRA. The group acts as a regulatory body for online gambling sites, offering up a list of approved sites and lending their well-respected seal to sites that meet their requirements.
Since 2003, this UK-based independent testing company has arguably been the gold standard in virtual game testing, and is considered a reputable agency by numerous regulatory groups in countries and states that offer licensed Internet gambling. They also offer dispute resolution services for players and on regulated sites in the United Kingdom.
Based in Australia, iTech Labs has been testing online gaming platforms for more than a decade. The group offers testing and consultation services for many of the largest names in the industry, and you can find their logo offering approval at hundreds of different casino sites.
They not only test random number generators and help calculate the return to player on games, but they offer services to evaluate everything from poker to slots and sports betting systems, and offer regular audits to their clients to ensure their systems continue to work properly.
Technical Systems Testing (TST) has been in the business since 1993, making them one of the oldest gaming test labs in the world. The company has facilities around the world in locations including Vancouver, London, Macau and Manila, and uses their own proprietary methods in order to test both single-player and multi-player online games. They also offer similar services to land-based casinos. Since 2010, TST has been a part of GLI, though they still operate under their own name.
Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) was established over 25 years ago, and still provides a range of professional services to the industry. Most importantly to players, they have been one of the leading game testers in the world, putting together a team of engineers, mathematicians, and quality assurance personnel to ensure games work in a fair and random way.
GLI boasts of having gained the trust of regulators in nearly 500 different jurisdictions (national and local) worldwide, working not only via the Internet but also with tribal and commercials resorts and with lottery providers around the world.
Since 1990, Gaming Associates (GA) has been offering their help to companies in the betting industry since 1990, and the group says that their consultants were among the early pioneers in the regulation of Internet gambling. GA not only provides testing for randomness and compliance with regulations, but also looks at player logs for poker sites in order to help protect users by detecting collusion and ensuring that games are conducted fairly.
With offices in the United States, UK, Italy, and the Netherlands, NMi is respected by regulators across the globe for their ability to help operators meet their certification needs. NMi began by certifying roulette wheels in the 1970s, and today has expanded to meet the needs of land-based and virtual gaming firms around the world. Their Internet operation began in 2007, and they have become as respected in the online sector as they have been for decades by brick-and-mortar casinos.
Established in 1981, BMM is perhaps the oldest private independent testing laboratory in the industry. Today, the company has offices in 13 different countries, and their compliance services are recognized or licensed in more than 400 different jurisdictions.
Along with checking games for randomness and other factors, BMM also provides consultation services and field work to operators in order to help them comply with regulations.
SQS is one of the world’s largest software quality specialists, having been active in the industry for more than 30 years. The group was first formed in Germany back in 1982, but now operates in nations throughout the world, and includes some of the world’s largest brands among its clients – including many major German firms like Volkswagen and Deutsche Post. While their work in gaming is just a small part of their overall business, they have worked with large companies in the Internet gambling world in order to ensure that real money games meet quality, fairness, and regulatory standards.